Deficit Government: Taxing and Spending in Modern America

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Overview

Since the advent of the New Deal, unbalanced budgets have become an almost permanent feature of American government - enlightened economic policy to some, a scourge to others. In Deficit Government, Iwan Morgan makes understandable the main trends of budget policy from the Roosevelt to the Clinton presidencies, and surveys the political and partisan debates surrounding the budget during those years. Focusing on federal expenditure and tax policies, Mr. Morgan explains why budget deficits have become the norm in modern American history, what impact they have had on the economy, and why the size of the deficit has grown so vast in recent years. He evaluates the budget as an instrument of economic management: FDR's hesitant acceptance of new Keynesian doctrines; efforts by Truman and Eisenhower to reconcile traditional budget-balancing with the modern concerns of budget policy; the use of deficits by Democratic administrations to boost economic growth in the 1960s; the effects of stagflation on fiscal policy in the 1970s; and the emergence of conservative doctrines that culminated in the supply-side approaches of the Reagan era. Deficit Government also examines those federal programs that over time have been the main beneficiaries of the public purse, focusing particularly on the competing demands of national security, social welfare, and public investment. Mr. Morgan shows how the tax burden has evolved and considers whether principles of progressivity and equity have been maintained. He concludes by noting efforts made in the 1990s to control an alarmingly expanding budget and looks at prospects for deficit control as the century draws to a close. In all, readers who find their eyes glazing over at the thought of reading about budget policy will find Mr. Morgan's refreshing clarity a revelation.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal Of Economic History
If timing is everything, Morgan's Deficit Government has it made.
Political Studies Quarterly
Morgan has performed a valuable service...cogent and interesting...a surplus on its own merit.
Chicago Books In Review
A refreshing, clear eyed look at deficit spending from Roosevelt to Clinton.
Journal of Economic History
If timing is everything, Morgan's Deficit Government has it made.
The Journal of Southern History
A well-written and useful book...concise and reliable.
Journal of Southern History
A well-written and useful book...concise and reliable
Chicago Books in Review
A refreshing, clear eyed look at deficit spending from Roosevelt to Clinton.
Political Studies Quarterly
Morgan has performed a valuable service...cogent and interesting...a surplus on its own merit.
Journal of Economic History
If timing is everything, Morgan’s Deficit Government has it made.
Library Journal
With the economy likely to be the central problem facing Clinton and every president who succeeds him into the foreseeable future, this book on the history of modern budgetary politics could not have come at a better time. Morgan (history, London Guildhall Univ.) reviews the development of America's budgeting practices from the New Deal to the present, and he explains, in very clear language, how budget decisions influence our economy. Budget deficits have become the norm, with only eight instances of balanced budgets since 1933. But the real issue is not whether the budget is in balance but whether the imbalance has beneficial or harmful consequences. And it is on this theme that Morgan, as a neutral observer, provides his greatest service. Because budgets are as much political as economic statements, intepretations of them differ. What is clear from Morgan's analysis is that, despite many years of deficit budgets, the United States succeeded in controlling the negative effects except during the Reagan-Bush years. This fine short volume is recommended for political and economic collections.-Thomas Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Booknews
Morgan (American history, London Guildhall U.) surveys the political and partisan debates surrounding budget policy from the Roosevelt to the Clinton presidencies, focusing on federal expenditure and tax policies, and explains the origins, impact, and growth of budget deficits. He addresses Democratic administrations' use of deficits to boost economic growth in the 1960s and conservative doctrines that culminated in the Reagan era supply-side approaches, and examines the competing demands of federal programs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mary Carroll
Two thirds of the nation's first 140 federal budgets were balanced; in those years, war and depression caused most red ink. Since 1933, however, only eight budgets have been balanced. Morgan--principal politics and modern history lecturer at London Guildhall University and author of "Beyond the Liberal Consensus" (1994) and "Ike Versus "The Spenders"" (1990)--traces the ideological and institutional changes this history reflects, distinguishing "forms" of Keynesianism, for example, and finding roots of supply-side economics in earlier doctrines. Since the '30s, he notes, the federal government has taken on responsibilities--as a welfare state, an investor state, a national security state--unimaginable in earlier times. Over the past six decades, Morgan argues, policymakers generally managed to balance the budget's "purposes"" to pay for programs that the nation needs, to manage the economy, and to raise revenue in an equitable manner." Until the 1980s "Age of Excess," elect"ed officials earn a passing grade for deficit "control", because red-ink amounts were low relative to GNP, except when recessions hit. On balance, Morgan sees budget deficits as beneficial to the economy through the '70s; the unproductive deficits of recent years should not, he urges, "overshadow [the deficit government's] half-century of success."
Journal Of Southern History
A well-written and useful book...concise and reliable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630818
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Series: American Ways Series
  • Pages: 223
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Iwan Morgan, who teaches American history at London Guildhall University, has also written Beyond the Liberal Consensus, America’s Century, and Eisenhower versus “The Spenders.”

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Budget in Historical Perspective 3
2 The Making of the Modern Budget, 1933-1945 19
3 The Age of Equilibrium, 1945-1960 55
4 The Age of Activism, 1961-1968 86
5 The Age of Uncertainty, 1969-1980 115
6 The Age of Excess, 1981-1988 148
7 Deficit Government: The Present, the Future - and the Past 182
Recommended Reading 203
Index 207
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